After going car-free in 2017, a Denver man used public transportation to get from one place to another. One day, he spotted a lady sitting in the dirt waiting for her bus and thought it was “undignified.” He immediately decided to do something about it.
Have you ever done something to bring a positive change in your neighborhood? Every day, many of us notice things around us that need to be fixed. It might be a missing trashcan or a pothole disturbing the traffic, but how often do we stop and fix these things?
The man in today’s story also spotted something that disturbed him, but he chose to step up and fix the dаmаgе. Ultimately, his kindness inspired others to work for their communities and neighborhoods. The man had no idea his actions would have a lasting impact on people.
James Warren. | Source: Youtube.com/CBS News
The Bus Stop
In January 2022, James Warren was walking by a bus stop in his neighborhood when a woman caught his attention. She was waiting for her bus sitting in the dirt because she had no other option. There were no seats at the bus stop.
“Oh man, that sucks!” Warren thought to himself. The 28-year-old man felt terrible for her because she was deprived of an essential facility. He thought someone had to step up and fix this issue. He said:
“For people to have to sit in the dirt while they’re waiting for a bus is just undignified.”
James Warren with his bench. | Source: Youtube.com/Denver7 – The Denver Channel
Thinking Out of the Box
Looking at the helpless woman compelled Warren to take up a mission. He didn’t want other citizens to suffer, so he decided to help them by building a bench. Warren gathered some scrap pieces of wood from a nearby construction site and went home to build a bench.
Warren often saw his benches get graffitied and then go missing.
Since he had grown up watching his father use different tools, he knew where to take his inspiration from. It took him about three hours to turn the wooden pieces into a bench that he carried on his shoulders and placed at the bus stop near his house.
James Warren and his bench. | Source: Youtube.com/Denver7 – The Denver Channel
This Wasn’t Enough
Soon after placing his first bench, Warren realized one wasn’t enough for his Denver, Colorado, neighborhood. There were many more unsheltered bus stops with no seating arrangements for the riders. Warren had spotted a loophole in the transportation system and was ready to fix it.
After placing his first bench, Warren turned more wooden pieces into benches. He had made eight of them for eight different locations, but he wasn’t aware of how people would try to discourage him. Warren often saw his benches get graffitied and then go missing.
However, seeing some people’s reactions didn’t discourage him from building more benches and writing “Be Kind” on them. He was motivated by watching other people get inspired by him. He had seen people build their own benches online.
James Warren building a bench. | Source: Youtube.com/Denver7 – The Denver Channel
He Kept Going
Seeing his benches get stolen didn’t demotivate Warren because the joy he felt from watching people sit on them drove him to build more of them. He knew he wasn’t responsible for what other people did. He only had one mission: to uplift people in his community.
In 2017, Warren had decided not to travel in a car. Instead, he walked to places, rode a bike, or used buses. During the last five years, he understood people’s challenges while traveling in buses, which motivated him to build benches. He said:
“I have not asked the city yet whether I’m allowed to do this … Until they stop me, I’ll just keep doing it, I guess.”
While traveling in the area, Warren, who works in the Colorado Workforce Development Council, often stops by to chat with riders waiting for their bus. Talking to them helps him analyze the demand for his benches. He said:
“I was talking to someone who said it’s difficult to stand for long periods of time. I knew where the next bench was going.”
Often, riders also thank him for placing benches. They tell him how painful it is to wait for the bus while standing. Warren said the kind words from people who sat on his benches “filled him up.” He felt motivated to build more benches and help his fellow citizens.
James Warren during an interview. | Source: Youtube.com/Denver7 – The Denver Channel
While Warren’s benches have different designs, they all have one thing in common. Warren makes sure to print the same message on every seat: Be Kind. He believes every person can help people around them.
“And by being kind, you can make a difference in the world around you,” Warren said. Since he had witnessed how his generous act inspired people around him, he wanted others to do the same.
After knowing about Warren’s unique story, many news channels shаrеd his story on television and social media. Warren said people reached out to him through Twitter and Reddit after reading his story. They told him they wanted to help and be a part of his mission.
Meanwhile, some people dơnаtеd supplies to help Warren, while others spread awareness about his mission. People hoped the government would take notice of his benches and do something about it to facilitate the bus riders.
Sometimes, all it takes is for one person to see a need and fulfill it. It marks the beginning of a chain of random acts of kindness that build on and ultimately bring about a change.
Share Warren’s inspiring story with your friends and family. It might encourage them to do something for their community that they had been thinking about.